Keyless car theft

30 second briefing video; emerging crime trend of keyless car theft in Barnet on twitter @MPSChildsHill
Over the last 4 days we have seen the emergence of a crime pattern in Barnet that has intermittently appeared elsewhere in  London over recent years. This is keyless car theft by jamming the locking signal, then copying the key and alarm then stealing the car overnight. 
What appears to be happening is a potential victim pulls into a car park and parks up. Either they are followed very closely by the thieves car who stop right next to them, or the potential victim parks in a space adjacent to the thieves car.
The potential victim gets out of their car and uses their zapper to lock the car. Before the zapper is activated the potential thieve activates the jammer.  They need to be very close. The kit fits in the foot well of the thieves car and looks like a box of electronics with a few small aerials.  The victim’s car light flash but the car does not lock.  The victim does not realise the car did not lock as they  do not check the door afterwards, but then why would you if you know your zapper works normally.  The victim then walks off to the shops. 
A few moments later the thieves go to the unlocked victim’s open. They open the door and inset their key copying equipment into the ignition barrel.  They copy the key and alarm and attach a GPS tracker to the underside of the car. They then walk away. They don’t steal the car then as they want more time to move it without risk 
Later that night, the thieves activate the tracker and come and find where the car is parked up.  They use the key they have “made”  to unlock the car and drive it away.  By the time the victim realises what has happened the car is already on a container leaving the country or parked up on an anonymous industrial estate near a port awaiting to find out if there is a tracker fitted to it and if the police will come looking for it.
This type of offence can be hard to spot but it can be prevented. We are running several lines of enquiry to try and identify the team responsible for this including plain clothes patrols in  car parks,  advising the security teams at shopping centres and other more discrete and sensitive things. 


  • You can prevent it happening to you, if you have this type of locking mechanism, by checking that your car is actually locked after you have zapped it and walked away and looking out for people tailgating you into a car park at the shopping centres 
  • You can help prevent this happening to others by sharing this information
  • You can help us catch this team by reporting the registration marks of any car acting suspiciously in a car park or tailgating you into a car park


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